(RxWiki News) It has been almost a century since the last serious step forward in the fight against type 1 diabetes. Now, researchers have opened the door to what may be the first new treatment for type 1 diabetes since the 1920s.
A drug used to treat type 2 diabetes may also help type 1 diabetics control their blood sugar levels. Diabetics with type 1 diabetes need a daily dose of insulin - a hormone that manages blood sugar - in order to avoid deadly complications from their disease.
"Type 1 diabetics may have a new drug option."
Injectable insulin was discovered in the 1920s, and today it remains the main treatment for people with type 1 diabetes. However, a small, observational study - conducted by Paresh Dandona, M.D., Ph.D., from the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and colleagues - shows that type 1 diabetics may finally have a new option.
The drug Victoza (liraglutide) - which is usually used for type 2 diabetics - not only helps control blood sugar levels in type 1 diabetics, but also lowers the amount of food patients eat. In the study, patients who took Victoza for 24 weeks lost a significant amount of body weight, which may reduce their risk of diabetes-related complications.
Dandona notes that type 1 diabetics with bad blood sugar control may not be the only ones to benefit from Victoza. Even type 1 diabetics with good blood sugar control may get even better blood sugar levels than before.
The study - which did not receive funding - involved 14 patients with type 1 diabetes. They all had fairly well-controlled blood sugar levels. However, Dandona explains, even these patients can have huge swings in blood sugar levels.
At the start of the study, all of the patients had hemoglobin A1C levels under seven. The hemoglobin A1C test is used to measure blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, or to diagnose people with the disease.
When the patients took Victoza, their was a notable decrease in the amount their blood sugar would change. Because of this, the patients did not need as much insulin each day.
Even though this study was very small, the results are very promising for type 1 diabetics. More research may lead to a new treatment option for people with the disease.
In fact, Dandona and colleagues are already planning a much larger study of Victoza in type 1 diabetics. If the results of the second study support those found in the first, type 1 diabetics may finally have another way to control their blood sugar.